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Heather is an Enterprise Adviser for William Ellis School in London, where recently she organised a visit into the school with Steve Mangleshot, Executive Head Chef at Wagamama. 

I’m a freelance consultant with a focus on executive assessment within recruitment for a range of businesses. I’m a CIPD Associate, a BPS verified assessor and have been working within the recruitment field for  over 18 years, with various companies including The Body Shop, Wagamama, Prudential and EAT.  Prior to this, I had a flying career for 16 years working for a number of airlines in recruitment, training and on-board management roles, finishing on Concorde at British Airways. I became an Enterprise Adviser in 2018.

Introductions to the world of work

One of the things I can bring to the school, is the industry connections I have with businesses that have the potential to inspire young people from an early age.

I would say to all children, that you just don’t know what you’re capable of doing, until you try it. As the world of work continues to evolve, there are many jobs that we know today that won’t exist in years to come when young people leave education. The key to success will be discovering where their strengths and passions lie, developing a broad skill set and continuing to learn new things.  This will enable them to gain valuable experience across different roles and organisations.

Aside from essential subjects like Maths and English, decisions on which additional GCSE subjects to study can be really difficult.  At that age, a lot of children don’t always know what they like doing, what they want to do or even what they’re good at, yet the subjects they choose will eventually inform their higher education and/or employment choices.  I’m keen to offer support to those children who may not be particularly academic, those who may not have a clear idea of what they’d like to do in the future, and those who may not receive much support and encouragement at home. I think it’s important that as early as possible, they’re introduced to a variety of job possibilities and are inspired by the career stories of people in roles they may not have considered or even know about. Wagamama chef Steve School Visit

Wagamama chef encounter 

Last month, Steve Mangleshot, Executive Head chef at Wagamama came to the school to talk about his career journey and gave  a cooking demonstration to a group of students from Year 8. This was a great opportunity to get the children involved in cooking and to find out about a career in hospitality. I think children need to be inspired in order to uncover a passion for something.  Armed with inspiration and passion, they can begin to add knowledge, skills and motivation to work towards their chosen subject and career.  By connecting the school to different industries, I hope to inspire them by showing them a range of different jobs and the career paths they could take.

Linking the school with employers

Earlier this year, I introduced Malcolm Burrows to the school, an ex-colleague and friend who is a senior crew manager and brand ambassador for British Airways.  He’s extremely passionate about his role and delivered a great presentation to the whole of year 9, highlighting the incredibly diverse range of jobs available. Steve is also hugely passionate about what he does at Wagamama and was also really happy to come into the school and talk to the young people. I have a lot of connections with people I’ve worked with over the years in many different industries, and with the British Airways and Wagamama visits both being a great success, I hope to continue connecting the school to other companies in the future.

I’ve been recruiting and assessing people from school leavers to senior executives, for many years. The traditional, competency-based method of interviewing is still used frequently within selection, but many of the more progressive organisations are now moving towards a strengths-based approach, particularly when hiring school leavers and graduates. Nevertheless, these companies have recognised the correlation between employee engagement, performance and productivity, when people are placed in roles aligned to their strengths, the things they’re good at and the things they enjoy doing.  

This goes back to my earlier point about helping to inspire children to uncover their strengths and passions, by introducing them to different job and career possibilities as early as possible, enabling them to make more informed choices and really prepare them for the workplace. For me, this is why careers education is so important.

Anyone thinking of becoming an EA will find that their career experience and connections are greatly appreciated by the school.  They’ll find it really rewarding to be helping teachers develop those business connections, as well as helping to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work.

 Wagamama chef Steve School Visit